Cubs Sign Kawasaki to Minor League Deal
Jon Paul Morosi at Fox Sports reports that the Cubs have signed veteran utility infielder Munenori Kawasaki to a 2016 minor league contract, and Paul Sullivan at the Chicago Tribune further reports that Kawasaki will receive an NRI to Spring Training with the big club.
Kawasaki essentially takes the place of Jonathan Herrera (who elected free-agency after being outrighted to the minors in October), although Kawasaki will have to beat-out Tommy LaStella and/or Javy Baez (as well as fellow NRI utility INF Kristopher Negron and Logan Watkins) for a spot on the Cubs 25-man Opening Day roster.
I suspect Kawasaki will likely end up at AAA Iowa (at least until June 1st - see last paragraph below), providing insurance in case something happens to either Addison Russell or Baez.
Playing nine-plus seasons for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in the NPB Pacific League, the left-handed hitting Kawasaki was an eight-time NPB All-Star, a two-time Gold Glove award winner, and he led the league in stolen bases once. He was a member of Team Japan in both the 2005 and 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Kawasaki signed a contract with the Seattle Mariners after the 2011 season, and he has bounced back & forth between AAA and MLB over the past four seasons (one with the Mariners, and then three with the Toronto Blue Jays).
The speedy but light-hitting 34-year old has hit 234/314/284 in 262 MLB games (712 PA) 2012-2015, providing glove-first plus-defense at SS-2B-3B.
Because of previous service time accrued in Japan (NPB) prior to signing his first contract with an MLB organization, Kawasaki is considered an Article XX-B player, and in fact he has been declared an Article XX-B MLB free-agent three times: post-2013, post-2014, and post-2015. (Kawasaki wasn't declared an Article XX-B MLB FA post-2012 because the Mariners released him in October, prior to the conclusion of the World Series).
An Article XX-B MLB free-agent who signs a minor league contract at least ten days prior to MLB Opening Day and then is either not released by 12 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day prior to MLB Opening Day or added to an MLB Active List (25-man roster) or MLB Disabled List by 3 PM (Eastern) on MLB Opening Day automatically receives a $100,000 retention bonus, and the player can unilaterally opt-out of the minor league contract on June 1st if he has not been added to an MLB Active List (25-man roster) or an MLB Disabled List by that date.
First.Pitch.120 3 hours 39 min ago (view)
I second & nominate Crunch as winner of the internet....
Charlie 5 hours 3 min ago (view)
I dub this canon.
Eric S 14 hours 20 min ago (view)
Good deal - much better ballpark experience than at the Ted. Atlanta fans are buying in and showing up.
Eric S 14 hours 37 min ago (view)
It’s a shame that they had to burn Cishek with a five run lead. I guess they could have used Brach or Caratini. Probably not enough time to warm up Caratini. Wouldn’t want to risk blowing the lead with Brach.
crunch 14 hours 50 min ago (view)
gonna be in ATL over the 4th and catching the young braves club in person. i really don't like going to that park (hey, who wants 3-4 hours of the "tommy hawk chawp"?), but i wanna see this collection of kids.
Eric S 14 hours 51 min ago (view)
Kyle Ryan playing like a man who wants to keep his big league roster spot - well done!!
crunch 14 hours 52 min ago (view)
if javy has the ball you gotta play like you're on a basketball court. until the play is dead, no matter what your view is, that ball could be coming at you at any time from any angle.
bote also goofed earlier in the season playing 3rd during a lester start by not knowing how extreme one needs to cover for him. yeah, technically it should be lester's play, but realistically the 3rd baseman has more range to cover with lester on the mound.
Eric S 14 hours 54 min ago (view)
Barnette’s 88-91 mph fastball really is, uh, not very special.
Eric S 14 hours 56 min ago (view)
But for Flowers and the pitchers spot, the Braves lineup is relentless. When McCann plays, the only hole is the pitchers spot. Tough club.
crunch 15 hours 43 sec ago (view)
welcome to the cubs barnette.
6 pitches to his 1st batter, solo HR.
you're gonna fit in just fine.
Eric S 15 hours 17 min ago (view)
Thanks Phil. What kind of prospect(s) do you think it would take to pick up Melky?
Eric S 15 hours 27 min ago (view)
Not the first time Bote has frozen on a catchable ball from Javy at second ... and leads to two unearned runs. Damn. Love Bote, but when you’re playing with Javy, you better expect the unexpected
crunch 15 hours 48 min ago (view)
also, wow at that 10 mile long leash teheran got to totally suck.
Eric S 15 hours 53 min ago (view)
Pro tip to the Cubs: score a ton of runs, then score a ton more. These Braves specialize in pulverizing and bludgeoning teams into oblivion, particularly after the six inning.
Eric S 15 hours 59 min ago (view)
Walnuts suck. Just sayin’
Arizona Phil 16 hours 7 min ago (view)
The Cubs have officially signed three more 2019 draft picks: RHP Zach Bryant (15th round - Jacksonville), RHP Johzan Oquendo (16th round - Leadership Christian Academy - Guaynabo, PR), and RHP Shane Combs (31st round - Notre Dame).
So the Cubs have now signed 24 of their 40 draft picks.